Service Learning Institute
Since its founding as a program integrally connected to the planning faculty’s academic priorities, the university’s Service Learning Institute (SLI) has pursured a very specific purpose: providing students with the skills required for participating in culturally diverse communities by supporting the implementation of curriculum that combines subject matter acquisition with experiences of active citizenship. Service learning at CSUMB is a core teaching strategy which intentionally incorporates our university’s innovative vision: we believe that service learning is the most effective way for students to learn about difference, develop cultural sensitivity, and understand issues of equity within local communities.
CSUMB students are also required to take a service learning course offered in a major discipline before graduating. Faculty in each major have been challenged to design courses that meet major specific learning outcomes while involving students in projects and placements responsive to community needs. Though numerous courses each semester are taught in majors as service learning courses (over 40 each academic year), discipline based faculty, generally, have been unable to effectively incorporate themes of diversity and unity in their service learning teaching. They need additional skills and training if they are to access service learning’s potential for stimulating dialogue and attitudinal change in students.
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